The BenQ EX2780Q Gaming Monitor is BenQ’s latest gaming monitor. I’ve been using the EX2780Q as my primary monitor for over two weeks now. I set it up side-by-side with my Dell Ultrasharp work monitor, which offered some interesting insights.
In this hands-on review, I’ll share my thoughts about the monitor’s performance and how it compares to my regular work monitor, my experience playing games with it, and my take on the debut of BenQ’s HDRi tech.
What’s in the Box?
- Quick Start Guide
- CD w/ Drivers / User Manual
- Power Cable
- USB 3.1 Cable
- HDMI Cable
- Monitor & Stand
The EX2780Q is a feature-rich monitor. There was a lot more to play around with compared to my Dell Ultrasharp monitor. Multiple blue light settings, eye care reminder timer, HDR modes, and a variety of color modes were just the tip of the iceberg. I tried out the ‘ePaper’ blue light preset, and my screen magically morphed into what appeared to be a giant Kindle display.
The 5-key navigator on the back-right side made the slew of settings less tedious to navigate, much preferable than the right-left up-down that most manufacturers employ in their monitors. On the front underneath the “BenQ” logo, there’s also an easy to access volume wheel.
It wasn’t until later that I discovered I left the remote control in the box. It’s the first monitor I’ve seen come with one and a useful addition. I used it to explore the settings further and bump audio up and down. I could see it being particularly helpful for heavy computer users or console gamers who want to change the eye care settings, tweak brightness, or jump between other presets on the fly.
BenQ integrated a surprisingly good 2.1 channel audio system integrated into the monitor. Trevolo, BenQ’s audio side of their business, designed the speaker in the monitor. The monitor features its own five sound presets: live/pop, cinema, dialog/vocal, rock/party, and game. Gunshots and grenades in CS:GO boomed satisfyingly and even at max volume the sound maintained clarity without distortion. The bar isn’t set high for monitor audio, but the EX2780Q hurdled over it with ease. It’s a big win for gamers who want to save some desk space and would similarly prefer a backup for their headsets when the ears start getting red and angry.
HDRi (“i” stands for intelligence) is BenQ’s own attempt to make HDR even better. There are two HDRi modes: cinema and games. It is a blend of their Brightness Intelligence Plus (B.I.+) technology with HDR. B.I.+ is an adaptive technology that further enhances HDR by optimizing color temperature and image brightness by detecting the lighting in your room and what content is on your screen. BenQ is invested in HDRi and has mentioned to me that more of their premium monitors will be coming out with HDRi in December and January.
Visually, this monitor doesn’t have near as much flair as most other gaming type monitors. When I think gaming monitor ASUS’ ROG Series or Acer Predator Series monitors come to mind. But the lack of flair isn’t a bad thing; gamers who enjoy a more subtle style will appreciate what BenQ has done here.
I’d almost call this monitor rustic, if not for the fact it’s a gaming monitor with cutting edge specs; a dark bronze metallic color coats the wide bottom bezel of the monitor as well as the stand. It’s a color I’d expect to see on light fixtures or furniture — not on a gaming monitor — a far cry from the sleek blacks, grays, and silvers we’ve grown accustomed to as gamers. It runs back, away from modern and in the direction of the classical.
BenQ reproduces the rectangular shape of the display in both the stand and the glossy black piece located smack-dab in the middle of the bottom bezel. I discovered this glossy black rectangle isn’t merely an accent piece; it is a sensor that detects the amount of light in the room that powers BenQ’s B.I.+ technology. It sticks out, but not so much as to be a sore thumb.
The austere design may turn off some gamers. For me, it is unique and appealing, a refreshing change from the aggressive looking gaming models.
The BenQ EX2780Q delivers gaming-grade specs with a 144Hz refresh rate, 5ms response time, 1440p resolution, all wrapped up in a 27inch IPS panel. This gaming monitor supplements these specs with more tech: AMD Freesync technology, HDR, Brightness Intelligence Plus, Black eQualizer, and blue light settings, not to mention all the audio and video presets. It is a lot to dial in when first getting started. Ultimately, I prefer having more control, so I enjoyed the granular adjusting. But an upfront time investment to get familiar with a monitor isn’t for everyone.
Zoom In – Specs
- Size: 27 inches
- Resolution: 2560×1440
- Refresh Rate: 144Hz
- Response Time: 5ms (grey to grey)
- PPI: 109
- Brightness: Up to 400 nits
- Panel: IPS LED backlight
- Viewing Angles: (H/V) 178°/178°
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Native Contrast: 1000:1
- Dynamic Contrast: 20,000,000:1
- Colors: 1.07 billion
- Color depth: 10 bit
- Connectivity: HDMI (2.0) x2, DisplayPort x1, USB Type-C X1 (PD10W, DP alt mode, data)
- Speakers: 2W x 2 + 5W
For me, the highlight was HDR. It’s the current “must-have” for high-end TVs, and it’s making its way to monitors. HDR done right can make colors deeper and more vibrant. And BenQ executed it well in their EX2780Q. Of course, once you have the right hardware, the other side of the equation is finding content that supports HDR too. I turned to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to give the HDR tech a close look. I wasn’t disappointed. The colors were far more vibrant and life-like across the board on the EX2780Q.
That being said, switching from HDR to the special HDRi settings didn’t provide an overwhelmingly better picture. The contrast did improve slightly, but not as much as I expected.
For non-HDR content, I checked out The Outer Worlds and CS:GO. In my testing with The Outer Worlds, the lush environment was gorgeous. In terms of picture quality, it wasn’t leaps and bounds ahead of the Dell Ultrasharp but certainly hops and skips.
In CS:GO, I tried out the three Gamer color presets. I found it easier to pick out more detail with the Gamer 2 mode enabled. The “Gamer 2” mode brightened everything up a bit, without degrading the visual experience. It’s not a huge advantage – but seeing your opponent before they see you is half the battle. Once you’ve turned on one of the gamer modes, the picture can be fine-tuned even further with the Black eQualizer setting (otherwise, it remains greyed out). Conceivably, this monitor could give competitive gamers an edge, especially in today’s hypercompetitive environment where every minuscule detail counts.
Compared to my Dell Ultrasharp work monitor, the colors are more vibrant on the EX2780Q. The wider color gamut of HDR content shined on the EX2780Q, and it was a stark contrast to the lack of HDR on the Ultrasharp. The blacks were richer on the BenQ, and the overall dark scene performance is significantly better. One area where the EX2780Q did seem weaker was in elements like text. They were a little less crisp. It’s worth noting that my work monitor has a slightly higher pixel density (118 vs. 109 PPI) and a smaller screen (25 vs. 27 inches). But when it came to gaming performance the EX2780Q 144Hz refresh rate — bolstered by Freesync — handled motion a lot better than the Ultrasharp’s 60Hz. No surprise there, but it was still interesting to see it in action.
- Best 1440p Gaming Monitors
- Gaming on a Monitor vs. TV
- Best Freesync Gaming Monitors
- The Optimal Monitor Size for Gaming
- Best 144Hz Gaming Monitors
Features - 8/10
Design - 8/10
Performance - 9/10
The BenQ EX2780Q is a capable monitor that blends gaming grade specs with BenQ’s monitor expertise. The new HDRi isn’t groundbreaking, but it didn’t have to be for this monitor to find success. BenQ hits on standard HDR, a beautiful 27 inch IPS panel, and an abundance of gaming features.
- Gaming specs & Freesync
- Exceptional audio for a monitor
- HDR content looks great
- Eye care settings
- Remote control
- No height adjustment
- Not much cable management space
- Familiarity curve
- HDRi underwhelming
- Lacking extra ports